January—the month where people all across the world make vague resolutions like lose weight and eat healthy that end up being gone by February.
How are your New Year’s Resolutions holding up? So far mine are going pretty well. If you remember from my “Surviving 2016” post I mentioned that one of my short term resolutions was to pack my lunch the night before work instead of the morning of in an effort to be more on time and less rushed. So far so good. I’ve only had maybe 3 days where I packed my lunch in the morning.
In an effort to help keep those of you with health-related resolutions motivated (put down that extra strip of bacon…I see you), I decided to write down what I eat in a day as a vegan.
The following is just an example of what I eat in a day. I’m not tracking macros right now. I just have an idea of what works for me and what I need to eat throughout the day to keep my blood sugar stable (something I struggled with almost daily before switching to plant-based; my symptoms always matched the symptoms of hypoglycemia but I never went to the doctor about it). I might be eating too much fruit or too little protein or too much protein. Keep in mind that right now I am going to hour-long boxing and kickboxing classes 5-6 days a week as well so my calories may be higher than your caloric needs. And because plants are less calorically dense than animal products, it takes a lot of plant-based foods to reach a functioning caloric intake. I didn’t really include serving sizes for some of the meals but I eat a little more volume than the normal person on a “standard American diet” i.e. someone eating eggs, meat, and Greek yogurt.
My point is this post is meant to help inspire you to fit in a little more plants and take out a little more meat, dairy, and eggs.
Also, pro-tip: If you’re not big into weekly meal prepping (where my fellow procrastinators at?) but you bring your lunch to work/school each day, cook a larger dinner the night before if you have time and portion that out for lunch the next few days. I like to do this with curry or simple stir-frys. It keeps lunch more interesting and fresh and saves time.
On to the food! I’ve included links to some products that I like for reference. Also, be sure to check out the “My Vegan Pantry Staples” post I did a few weeks ago for more healthy grocery/food ideas and recipes. Let’s keep you on track with your health resolutions this year!
- Coffee with soy or almond creamer (my favorite brand is Califia Farms Vanilla Almond Milk Creamer or if you’re on a budget the Silk Soy Vanilla creamer is good too and it’s sold at Walmart)
- Morning Smoothie (usually stays the same every day because I prefer to buy my fruit in bulk and have a smoothie daily):
- 1 Frozen Banana + a small handful of another frozen fruit (lately I’ve been loving frozen cherries)
- Decent handful of organic greens like kale or spinach
- 3 Tbs. of shelled hemp hearts (3 tablespoons of hemp hearts has 10 g of plant-based protein). Hemp hearts can be pricey—$10 for one bag—so feel free to swap for protein powder. If you want to try a vegan protein powder, Vega Clean Protein in vanilla is the best I’ve found so far.
- 1 C. of liquid (usually almond milk, coconut water, or regular H2O)
- Blend everything together until smooth
- Grain of some kind: Example, one serving of oatmeal (1/2 cup uncooked) with cinnamon and 1 Tbs. of chia seeds or a piece of toast with peanut butter. I recently found these Ozery Bakery Morning Rounds at the store. They’re kind of like a scone but in a soft bun form and the cranberry orange flavor is amazing. Plus they’re vegan so free of dairy and eggs if you have allergies. They also have apple & cinnamon, muesli, cinnamon & raisin, and date & chia flavors. If your store has an organic/health food section look there first. I doubt Walmart would carry them.
- Chickpea Salad Sandwiches (a tastier and cheaper replacement for a tuna sandwich—one can of chickpeas is anywhere from $0.69 to $0.89 vs. a can of tuna, which from what I remember, costs around $1.30 per can and one small can was never enough tuna)
- 1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed (always rinse your canned beans to wash off excess salt and preservatives)
- Couple tablespoons of vegan mayo (Earth Balance, Hampton Creek Just Mayo–sold at Walmart!, and Vegenaise are great choices especially if you have an egg allergy)
- Couple tablespoons of relish
- More or less than 1/4 cup each of diced red onion (soak your onion in cold water for a bit to remove the bitterness), diced celery, and diced bell pepper (you can seriously add whatever vegetables you like to this. I just really like the crunch from the onion and celery and the sweetness from the bell pepper)
- How to make:
- Mash the chickpeas and mix in the remaining ingredients until everything is incorporated. Spread on two slices of bread (I like to lightly toast my bread at work–speaking of, if you’re taking your sandwich to work or school store the chickpea salad in a separate container and then make your sandwich when you’re ready to eat to keep your bread from becoming soggy) and top with lettuce, tomato, and sprouts or whatever you prefer. This recipe will last me about four days of daily sandwiches which is super cheap in the end.
- 1 Blood Orange (or some other fruit like a banana or two Halos/Cuties)
- La Croix (I’m a basic beeyotch and love La Croix to the moon and back–it curbs any soda cravings I might have because of the carbonation)
- Half a cucumber sliced (or a generous handful of carrots/celery) with a couple tablespoons of hummus to dip
- One Silk soy yogurt (now sold at Walmart/most grocery stores in the yogurt section; at my Walmart, they are about $1.28 per container)
- One piece of toast with one single-serve 100 calorie pack of guacamole (Walmart sells a 6-pack of the Marketside individual serving guac packs in the produce section for about $3.56 which is cheaper than the Wholly Guacamole brand).
- Super simple vegetable ‘stir fry’: This is enough to last me at least two to three additional meals. Simple meals like this are great for late night dinners and if you’re crunched on time, or if you’re just craving something simple like rice and vegetables.
- 1 yellow onion + a couple cloves of garlic
- Half a head of broccoli (or sometimes a full head of broccoli)
- 2 zucchini
- 1 bell pepper
- Any other vegetables in the fridge that are going bad
- Spices to taste (ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper are my favorites)
- Teriyaki or soy sauce (not necessary but it really ups the flavor)
- Protein of some kind (vegetarian/vegan examples include beans, “mock meat” like Gardein or Beyond Meat, or tofu–here’s a link to a simple, easy baked tofu recipe including my current favorite marinade)
- Grain of some kind (typically rice because I’m cheap but quinoa is a great option as well)
- How to make:
- See my easy baked tofu recipe here if you want to try tofu but don’t know how to cook it. It takes me around 35 minutes at 425/450 degrees to make, so I start the tofu before the rice and vegetables.
- Start cooking your grains. For rice, the ratio of water to rice is typically 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of liquid. I use 1.5 cups of rice + 2 cups of water + half a vegetable bouillon cube for flavor (or you can omit the bouillon cube and cook your grain of choice with a mix of half vegetable stock and half water–it just adds some extra flavor). Follow the cooking instructions on the rice or quinoa (20-25 minutes for rice; 15 minutes for quinoa…typically).
- While the tofu and rice are cooking prep your vegetables. Chop up the zucchini, bell pepper, broccoli. Mince the garlic and dice the onion last to save some tears.
- Heat a pan on medium-high until warm, add a splash of water (no oil necessary; I used to cook my food with so much oil but you can saute vegetables with water just the same), and then add the garlic. Drop the heat to medium/low and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds stirring constantly–DO NOT BURN YOUR GARLIC. Add the onion and more water if necessary and saute the onions until soft.
- Add the rest of the vegetables, spices, and more water if needed. Up the heat a little and cover with a lid. Steam until the more fibrous vegetables are soft. If there’s too much water in the pan after steaming, remove the lid so that some of the water and evaporate. Add the tofu (or your cooked protein of choice) and serve over rice with a small amount of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.
I just want to preface this by saying that I do not eat a dessert every single night nor am I one of those people who needs an evening snack or dessert. Because of my work schedule, I get home around 6 pm and then go to boxing class for an hour+ in the evening (I am not a morning person at all). Because of this I typically eat dinner around 8/9 pm. If I am feeling hungry though or if I want something sweet I’ll make what’s called “Nice Cream”.
- Simple “Nice Cream”
- 2 frozen bananas
- Dairy-free milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
- Extras: Peanut butter and a few small squares of dairy-free dark chocolate
- How to make
- Add the frozen bananas to a high powered blender with a splash of almond milk (more than a couple tablespoons but less than 1/8 of a cup; just eyeball it based on how frozen your bananas are). Blend on high until creamy. I usually have to stop every now and then and scrape down the sides and add small splashes of almond milk to help everything blend. Don’t add too much milk because you can end up with a smoothie consistency. Blend the nice cream until it’s the consistency of soft serve. Top with a small spoon of PB and a sprinkle of dark chocolate or additional fruit like blueberries or raspberries. I love the saltiness of the PB with the sweetness of the bananas. If necessary, freeze your nice cream for 10-15 minutes to firm it up. This also freezes the chocolate and PB so you have more of a candy-like crunch.
That’s it! This is just a general outline of what I eat in a day. It stays pretty consistent throughout the week. Breakfast is pretty much the same every day and I rotate my lunches with leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. Most nights I go for simple dinners like the stir fry but every now and then if I have more time (usually when I’m not going to boxing) I might make a fancier dinner like these stuffed “ricotta” rolls/shells.
Comment below and let me know what your 2017 resolutions are and how they’re going!